Free the flame, Olympic fans say

Olympic fans take pictures of the cauldron Tuesday morning



VANCOUVER – The location of the Olympic cauldron on the Vancouver waterfront is ideal – if you’re allowed into the main media centre.

If you’re an Olympic tourist, not so much. Crowds circled a construction site next to the cauldron Tuesday, as they have every day of the 2010 Games, trying to get a souvenir picture through the chain-link fence that kept them from the broad empty plaza.

Tracey Groot and her son Randall came down from Smithers to see Team Canada play in the Olympic hockey tournament. After a visit to the flaming glass-and-aluminum sculpture at the foot of Thurlow Street, they retreated back up the hill to get a picture at a distance.

“There’s lots of people around so it’s tough to get a good picture, and there’s a big chain-link fence, so even if you get a good picture it’s tough,” Randall said. “It’s still cool to be down there.”

Tracey was disappointed: “I just thought we would go right up and actually touch it.”

Other Olympic visitors say it’s kids who insist on seeing the real thing after watching hockey legend Wayne Gretzky light it at the opening ceremonies. A daycare group came down Tuesday morning, but youngsters couldn’t see much.

“We can see it better from our playground,” the caregiver assured her young charges as she pushed a stroller away.

Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday he has discussed the issue with Olympic organizers and they are working around the clock to find a solution.

“It’s been incredibly popular, and that’s a great thing,” Campbell said in an interview. “Now we want to solve the problem and I think VANOC will do that.”

Asked if a viewing platform could be put in place, Campbell said that is one possibility.

“People would like to have a clear shot of the cauldron without the fence in between, I certainly get that,” he said. “It’s just the magic of the games that connected to that cauldron.”

He noted the irony that Vancouver’s Olympic flame is closer to the people than most previous games, where the cauldron has typically been high in the air.

For tourists pressed against the fence, it is so near but so far.

Just Posted

Town pitches in to help homeless man on bicycle

Sixty-one-year-old was hauling his possessions from Penticton to Hope

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Princeton woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Tychonik continues scoring run

Vees chalk up another win with Pink in the Rink

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read